Copycat Love Crunch Dark Chocolate and Red Berries Granola 

When I find something to eat that I love, I really LOVE it. I can eat it everyday for a month straight unlike Chris who hates the idea of repeating a meal two days in a row. Not me. I am a creature of habit when it comes to eating.

I recently discovered Love Crunch. I tried the Macaroon and Dark Chocolate and Red Berries. Both were good, but I became obsessed with the Dark Chocolate and Red Berries. 

I love the combo of coconut, chocolate and the freeze dried berries. Though It was a little on the sweet for my taste so I decided to make my own!  

I wish I could give some to Lyra but because it has honey and chocolate in it I’ll wait until after she turns one. She’s been a really adventurous eater! I basically feed her anything I’m eating. Lately she’s gotten into hummus, pizza (crusts only!), chicken, and kale. 

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YUM

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped freeze dried strawberries
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk melted coconut oil, maple syrup, honey and vanilla in a small bowl and pour over oat mixture until well combined.
  2. Spread granola on a baking sheet and bake for 45-55 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and stir in chocolate chips. Let cool for 1 hour. (This helps create clusters of granola!) Add in freeze dried strawberries.
  4. Store in an airtight container.
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Easy Peasy Mini Brownies

I am a terrible blogger. I always have the intention of posting weekly but my growing to-do lists usually leaves no time for blogging. I used to be better at posting when I had a 9-5 job if you can believe that! Now, my work hours are all over the place and I don’t want to use the “I’m too busy” excuse because it is lame. You’re probably thinking, well who isn’t? Apparently all of us could benefit from not using the “b” card. Chris recently sent me an article about how people are not as busy as they say they are which at first kind of made me mad because I’d like to think that I am actually busy. But after reading it, I realized I need to be better at not “contaminating” my time by trying to cross off every little to-do item while say having breakfast, or watching a movie. I am not that busy! And like the author mentioned, when you are calmly going about your day and being mindful about what you are doing, it doesn’t feel that overwhelming!

So in my oodles of leisure time, what I like to do is bake. Lets get to the main star of this post. No, that’s not the real name of these things but they might as well be! I whipped up a batch of these delicious mini caramel brownies with pretzels and sea salt right for last week’s premiere of Game of Thrones.

It’s spring time which means beach season is right around the corner – which means everyone is on a diet! I am not a big fan of dieting only because I know if I restrict myself from something, I’ll only want it more. So saying I won’t eat desserts, will make me want to inhale a huge slice of chocolate cake, like immediately. Zero restraint. (And no, reverse psychology does not work in this situation.) These mini brownies are the perfect solution! I can eat one, feel satisfied and still be fit for the beach! Not that I would ever go to the beach here in SF…

Easy Peasy Mini Brownies
Recipe from Rachel Cooks
Makes 16 mini brownies
Get
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 16 mini pretzels
  • homemade caramel sauce

Bake
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
*Spray mini muffin cups with non stick baking spray.
*In a bowl, mix together melted butter, sugar, and salt. Once combined, mix in your vanilla and egg. Lastly, fold in the cocoa powder and flour.
*Fill greased muffin tins 3/4 of the way. Gently press a mini pretzel on top of each muffin.
*Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
*Let brownie bites cool before taking out of the muffin tin. *This is really important, be patient!
*Drizzle caramel sauce over each mini brownie and sprinkle the tops with sea salt.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

…aka the easiest thing to make ever!

I couldn’t believe how easy this dish was to put together and how delicious it was. The curry powder, garam masala and coconut milk packs in a lot of flavor. I almost feel like I shouldn’t even post it because it’s so easy. But I like easy and I think others do too 🙂 Plus the last couple of weeks have been b-a-n-a-n-a-s for me so recipes like this are much needed.

Sadly I did not have time to take a prettier picture of this but after 7 hours of cooking on low, the chicken was super tender and shredded very easily.

Hope you all will try this out!

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry
Recipe slightly adapted from The Lemon Bowl

Get

  • 3/4 cup coconut milk, light
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup green peas, frozen
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • cilantro for garnish

Make
*In the bottom of a slow cooker, whisk together coconut milk, chicken stock, tomato sauce, curry powder, garam masala, cayenne, and salt.
*Add chicken breasts, onion, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes. Give it a good stir to ensure everything is coated evenly.
*Cook on low for 7 hours.
*Stir in peas and lemon juice just before serving. Serve over rice or naan and top with cilantro.

Enjoy! 

Nectarine-Thyme Crumble

Happy Fathers Day! I really wish I could be at home hanging out with my Dad today. I think he would really enjoy this dessert. He (almost) always likes everything I make. There was this incident with fried chicken one time in which case my Dad politely asked me never to make it again (that was ages ago and I’ve come along way). Short story – fried chicken is hard to make and I was 23, end of story.

This recipe on the other hand, is foolproof! 23-year old me could have made this with her eyes closed. 28-year old me made it with eyes open though…

I love stone fruits. I love that the season is finally here for them. It’s awesome seeing peaches, cherries and nectarines at the farmers market. They’re all good just on their own but they make for wonderful (low-calorie?) desserts. This nectarine-thyme crumble is so easy to make and perfect for summer dinner parties or cook-outs. Its great because you don’t need to crack any eggs, measure exact amounts, or pull out any mixing bowls! You can really whip this up at the last-minute and it could work with any fruit.

Nectarines are sprinkled with sugar, thyme, lemon juice, and salt before being baked in a cast iron pan.

I threw in some ground flaxseed when making the crumble topping because you know, you can never have enough fiber and omega-3s. Plus, I just bought a huge bag of ground flaxseed and now I feel obliged to add it to everything. So far, I’ve only remembered to add it in my morning yogurt and in Chris’ cereal when he lets me. (By the way, 23-year old me would have never thought about extra fiber.)

See you soon Dad!

Nectarine-Thyme Crumble

Serves 6
Recipe slightly adapted from Food & Wine
Get
  • 4 nectarines, thinly sliced
  • 4-6 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • Salt
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (optional)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
Bake
*In a shallow bowl, toss nectarines with the sugar, lemon juice, thyme, and a pinch of salt; let stand for one hour. 
*Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a 8×8 baking pan, combine the flour, brown sugar, wheat germ, ground flax and a pinch of salt. Work in the butter with your fingers until the mixture is sandy. 
*Place the nectarine mixture (including juices) into a cast iron pan. Bake for 20 minutes until softened. *Halfway through, place the streusel mixture in for 10 minutes, until browned. 
*Sprinkle the streusel over the fruit and bake for 5 minutes longer. 
Enjoy!

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

This week Chris and I are off on a mini road-trip down the coast with stops in Palo Alto, SLO, West Hollywood, San Clemente, San Diego, and Palm Springs. The furthest distance we’ve driven so far was to Anaheim last fall to visit Disneyland. On that trip we stopped in Monterey, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, and Huntington Beach. I’m excited we’re visiting new cities this time! Today we walked by a BBQ place in SLO that reminded me of the delicious pulled pork Chris and I made just before we left.  I love pulled pork sandwiches though have never bothered to make them.

I am kicking myself for not trying earlier! Pulled pork is so easy to make. Especially when you’re making it in your slow cooker.


The slow cooker is a miracle worker. We hardly lifted a finger and out came tender and juicy pork. There’s minimal prep work involved for this recipe. Just throw all your ingredients in the slow cooker and “set it and forget it.”  Eight hours later – the pork is done! The first night we bought ACME burger buns and made a spicy slaw out of carrots and jicama to go with the pulled pork.

The next day, I used the leftover pork in my grilled cheese sandwich and it was one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever. The tangy sauce complemented the sharp cheddar cheese really well. And the addition of bread and butter pickles gave the sandwich a nice crunch against the crispy buttered toast. You must try it – it’s what pulled pork sandwich dreams are made of!

Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese
Recipe slightly adapted from Verses from my Kitchen
Get

Pulled Pork

  • 1 pork shoulder (2.5-3 pounds)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp ancho chile powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
Sweet & Spicy Sauce

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (I used the Trader Joe’s store brand)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • pinch of kosher salt and cracked fresh pepper

Cook

*Put pork in a slow cooker. In a large bowl, combine all marinade ingredients. Pour over the pork, rubbing it in. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
*Meanwhile, make sauce by simmering all of sauce ingredients in a small pot over medium-high heat. Once smooth, remove from heat and cool until ready.
*When done, shred the meat with a fork. Add sauce and mix until well combined.
*Serve with warm buns, and your favorite fixings.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Covered Cereal and My Kitchen Disaster

You know when you see on TV someone getting a drink splashed in their face and you think, “that looks unpleasant.” Well, it is. Technically I did not get a drink thrown in my face, but a pot of ice cold water did “explode” in my face this past weekend. It was indeed a hilarious moment as I stood in my kitchen soaking from head to toe. This was just part of the string of bad luck I’ve had lately while baking. Good thing these chocolate-covered cereal do not require any baking!

I first saw these while Chris and I were on vacation in Spain this past winter. Milka is the brand behind “Crispy Snax” which is essentially cornflakes,  raisins, and chocolate. It is so easy to make!
So why did a pot of ice cold water explode in my face? Well, I guess I never really understood the properties of steam and pressure. I created my own double boiler with two small pots and about half way into the process, I heard a loud thump. I didn’t realize until after I went to pick up the top pot, that the two were stuck together! I inadvertently created a vacuum seal with the two pots. (Thankfully it did not ruin what I was melting in the top pot!) After troubleshooting online (I am not alone!) Chris resolved to fix the situation by filling the top pot with water and ice and placing the stuck pots into the freezer to chill. Then he put the pots back on the burner on low heat, and slowly increased it to high. 

Then he sat back down at his computer. 
I went to see if I could pry the top pot off, not realizing there was a darn good reason Chris walked away. Five seconds later – THUMP – SPLASH! The top pot POPPED off the bottom pot and I got drenched. And burned. Did I mention the bottom pot had boiling water in it? My right hand was holding the handle of the top pot and it got a bit scorched. 
And that’s just one episode of “Amy’s Kitchen Disasters”…
Now that I’m dry and added a proper double boiler to my amazon wish list, let’s talk about the quickest, and easiest dessert in the world. Inspired by the Milka chocolates, I decided to recreate it at home. Jacques Torres also makes something similar but instead of cornflakes, he has milk chocolate-covered cheerios. This creation is an ode to both with a mixture of cornflakes, cheerios, and raisins.  
There is no formal recipe since I pretty much eyeballed everything and threw things together based on my ‘feelings’ as my friend Jessica likes to say. I took about a cupful of each cereal with a handful of raisins and combined them into a large bowl. Next, I melted some bittersweet and semisweet chocolate in 10 second intervals in the microwave. Then I swirled the melted chocolate onto the cereal mixture until well mixed. Next I lined an 8’x8′ pan with parchment paper and dumped the cereal into the pan. I pressed it evenly down with my fingers and stuck the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes for it to harden. And voila! You can break off pieces to eat as you like. 
OK, back to the kitchen. Two more days until my first cake tasting 🙂 Pictures to come.